Ten Days Out: Are You Too Heavy?

Trying to drop about 10 pounds in ten days, when you are already lean to make the weight class, while also trying to look great is also extremely hard...

The Situation

At ten days I find myself in the following situation:

    I need to drop about 10 pounds to make the weight class.
    I need to accomplish this without losing muscle and looking flat.
    I am stressed.
    Everyone has an opinion.
    All the opinions are different.

Easier Said Than Done

What Are Your Goals?
>Lose Fat
>Build Muslce
>Improve Energy

As many competitors know, burning fat while maintaining muscle is easier said then done. Even if you have been successful before, bodies change as we age, supplementation quality varies your stress levels which effect cortisol levels, fat metabolism and catabolic activity varies. Just think of this simple illustration: Think how hard it is with a knife, using your eye sight, to cut visible fat from a piece of chicken with both hands.

You still lose some meat (chicken muscle) right? So think how hard it must be for a bodybuilder to try to burn fat, without burning muscle without using his hands, or seeing the fat. Without being able to control stress levels, or without being able to know with certainty how his metabolism is working, and if the supplementation is of high quality or appropriate for the current metabolism.

I know a bodybuilder can use keto sticks as a litmus indicator, but they are not incredibly accurate. I have seen fat people in ketosis (Atkins diet believers) as well as contest winners (me) who rarely approach it.

Anyhow, I guess the point I am making is that even for the most experienced bodybuilders, trying to gain muscle, and while losing fat is hard. Trying to drop about 10 pounds in ten days, when you are already lean to make the weight class, while also trying to look great is also extremely hard.

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What made this even harder was I had not competed in about 15 years, so there was the nervousness, self doubt, possible new principles that I was not aware of, etc. Making matters worse was this contest had no early weigh-ins. Even worse than that, being that I was a lightweight competitor I was one of the last to be able to weigh-in and one of the first that had to step on stage at prejudging. This meant no real chance to "suck in" to the class, then "carb up".

So, with all that swirling around in my head, I became a scale addict watching each day to see if I would be able to get a sign as to whether I should be the smallest guy on stage in a higher weight class but be hard and full or try to be one of the largest in the lighter weight class but risk coming in too depleted and flat (which actually makes you not only look small, but less ripped and out of shape. A disaster: so proper carb depleting and loading is essential.

Ten Days Out - The Facts

I weight 164 pounds. The lower weight class cut off is 154 ¼. The next weight class ends at 176 ¼.

The difference between the two weight classes is 22 pounds. Since an average muscle gain for many natural older athletes is at best 5 to 7 pounds a year you can see what a predicament this is.

My Final Decision Made - So I Thought

Being that I made the lower class just 12 weeks before and I believed I could have lost 3 more pounds had I dieted or did cardio, my initial plan was try to make the 154 ¼ class this final time.

I knew I would have to diet strict (which meant giving up nightly 2 and 3 am trips to the kitchen, and sugar candy binges). I also knew I would need to add cardio. Last, but not least I carb depleted three days longer than what I would prefer (5 days total), and to carb up 2 days less (1 day) than I would prefer.

To make this plan work, I also knew that manipulating my sodium balance and water intake during the last few days would be a key factor to fooling Mother Nature. All of this would have to be come together perfectly if I was not only going to make the class, but look good in the process.

My Vision

By depleting my glycogen stores I should be able to shed "water weight" which I hope to quickly "reup" once I can force the glycogen back in my muscles. Depletion will also make my muscles "hungry" for the carbs and if done correctly will allow my body to store an additional 30 to 40 grams of glycogen for each 2 pounds of skeletal muscular tissue.

Tricking the body to store additional glycogen works before the body, for a very short time, will still think it is being starved of glycogen, so when you start to intake carbs, it will quickly "hoard them" into storage because my body will still believe it is in a deprived carbohydrate state. This trick only works for a brief time, because the body will want to resort back to its normal state. This is why it is key to time this perfectly.

My overall goal (besides the desire to win) will be to make the weight class while causing a 1 day "super glycogen storage effect" that will draw any extra water I may be carrying from the skin, into my muscles giving me a full, dry, ripped look. Hopefully, also giving me the appearance of a full blown middleweight as well.

My Plan

Thursday, March 4, 2004

    The first day of the depleting phase of glycogen stores. I will reduce from 600 grams to 150 grams. Because the first 24 hours of drastically lowering my carbs will be a real shock to my system I will consume carbohydrates that are somewhat higher on the glycemic index (bananas, apple sauce, rice cakes, minute rice, etc.).

FAQs About The Glycemic Index (GI)!
This articles answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the Glycemic Index.
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    This will help counteract the fact that the enzyme Glycogen Sintetase is still working at a rapid rate because it is expecting to have to process 600 grams of carbs. I will also expect to drop quite a bit of body weight that will be associated with the reduced amount of carbohydrates that I will consume.

    Approximately 3 grams of water can be lost for each gram of reduced stored glycogen. During this phase I am also increasing my water intake to at least 16 glasses a day. My protein sources will be coming from tuna, egg whites since I want to keep my sodium intake high during this period.

Friday, March 5, 2004
    My second day of the depleting phase. I will lower my carbs about 40% to 90 grams. I will now switch to lower glycemic foods since after the first 24 hours the Glycogen Sintetase activity will slow. By reducing the ratio of higher glycemic index carbs you will reduce the likelihood of storing excess calories as fat.

    My protein sources continue to be from tuna, and egg whites to keep my sodium intake high. White cheddar rice cakes will also add quite a bit of sodium to my diet. From this pointy on I will no longer train legs, since legs take longer to recover I could run the risk of being less separated if I were to train them past this date.

Saturday March 6, 2004
    My third day of the depleting phase. I will maintain it at 90 grams so I can continue to train hard, pose and stretch for maximum separation.
Sunday, March 7, 2004
    The forth day of the depleting phase of glycogen stores. I will reduce my carbs another 20% to about 70 grams.
Monday March 8, 2004
    My fifth day of the depleting phase. I will lower it to about 40 grams. I will also start training my entire body (except for legs) daily through the remaining carb depletion days to ensure that I have no stored glycogen. This is key to being able to get the "super glycogen storage effect" I am looking for.
Tuesday March 9, 2004
    My sixth and last day of my depleting phase. I will keep it at 40 grams so I can continue to muster up the ability to pose and stretch for maximum separation. It will also be my last day of training.
Wednesday March 10, 2004
    I will gradually begin the replenishment of glycogen stores by cutting out all training and by consuming five 40 gram carbohydrate meals for a total of 200 grams of medium glycemic index carbs (around 50-70 the index or by mixing high and low glycemic foods). I will I will also start to reduce my water intake to about six liters a day.
Thursday March 11, 2004
    I will raise my carbs another 50% to 300 grams, increasing the lower glycemic foods such as Peaches, dried apricots, strawberries, bell peppers and green peas, whole wheat pasta, cauliflower. I will reduce my water intake a bit more to five liters a day hoping to pull water from between the skin into my muscles as my body starts to store glycogen.
Friday March 12, 2004
    My third day of the replenishment of glycogen stores. I will raise my carbs another 50% to 450 grams, increasing the lower glycemic foods such as Peaches, dried apricots, strawberries, bell peppers and green peas, Whole Wheat pasta, cauliflower.

    I will consume about 4 liters of water today from the time I wake until midnight. After midnight I will drink no water until I make the weight class.

Saturday March 13, 2004
    Contest Day. Max Muscle Natural, Anaheim CA. Winners qualify for the Team Universe competition. I will not carb up or drink any water until I make the weight (154 ¼). After I make the weight class I will load up on higher glycemic carbs to try to rapidly carb up.

    I will also consume moderate amounts of water to fill the muscles and hopefully dry out any water left between the skin and muscles.

In conclusion, all I can say is that I can not stress the importance of knowing your own body and experimenting with what works best for you. Each person's own body works differently (as does our own year to year as metabolisms change). Some basics that will always hold true….The more out of shape (or the more weight you will need to drop) the longer you may need to low carb to lose the stored fat and the water weight (assuming you have maxed out on the aerobics).

However, my personal preference is to increase the physical activity, to burn more calories, and can keep my carbs higher to fuel my workouts and glycogen stores. I know sometimes circumstances do not allow this (be it that you did not have the time to add the aerobics, or you were not in the shape you thought you would be in at a specific point in your quest for victory.

In my case it was a combination of many things (schedule, available time, willpower and the fact that after taking 15 years off from competing I was not sure at what pace I would add muscle and burn fat. Surprisingly enough I added more muscle and got leaner in 11 weeks than I could have predicted without aerobics) however I did not count on being truly stuck between two weight classes.

So, as we always have to do…I made the choice to try to be as ripped as possible and sacrifice some size for this competition. There will always be another time to go up a weight class right? Wish me luck.

Later Note: What Actually Happened

Everything went as planned, and I started to lose half of the weight (5 pounds to go with 5 days to go seemed like a snap). Then, I lost no more, no matter what. I actually started to drift back to, 7, 8, 9 pounds above the 154 ¼. I still hoped that the scale would be forgiving at the contest site...it was not.

End result: I had to compete at 162 pounds; 13 ¼ under what I wanted to weigh in the open middleweights, however within weight for the Novice light weight class. So, you heard me right….I was going to compete as a Lightweight Novice and an Open Middleweight.

By the end of the day, I was awarded a 3rd place trophy as an Open Middleweight. This was a very respectable feat as the talent was not only great, but considering I was 13 ¼ less that the cut off. Better yet, I won the Novice Lightweight class, and I also won the overall GNC Max Muscle Natural Bodybuilding Championship title as a lightweight! I guess it all worked out!

Now, the real challenge is how I am going to gain those 13 ¼ pounds of lean muscle mass so I can compete as a solid natural Middleweight competitor against others "not so natural" in the non tested shows.

Stay true to yourself and live life like there will be no tomorrow. Peace and god bless!


A bodybuilding hat trick
3 trophies, One show!
The week before the show
during the low carb phase!
The week before the show
during the low carb phase!
Lightweight and Overall Winner!